Rouen-Les-Essarts was a 5.543 km (3.444 mi) motor racing circuit in Orival, near Rouen, France.

Circuit de Rouen-Les-Essarts
map of the track
LocationOrival, France
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
Coordinates49°19′50.3″N 1°0′16.5″E / 49.330639°N 1.004583°E / 49.330639; 1.004583Coordinates: 49°19′50.3″N 1°0′16.5″E / 49.330639°N 1.004583°E / 49.330639; 1.004583
Opened30 July 1950; 72 years ago (1950-07-30)
Major eventsFormula One French Grand Prix
(1952, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1968)
Grand Prix motorcycle racing French motorcycle Grand Prix (1953)
Sidecar World Championship (1953)
Formula 2 (1970–1973, 1975–1978)
French F3 (1964–1970, 1972–1973, 1980–1993)
French Touring Car Championship
Final configuration (1972–1994)
SurfaceAsphalt, cobblestones
Length5.543 km (3.444 miles)
Race lap record1:46.310 (Brazil Ingo Hoffmann, March 782, 1978, Formula Two)
Second configuration (1955–1971)
SurfaceAsphalt, cobblestones
Length6.542 km (4.065 miles)
Race lap record2:00.800 (Australia Tim Schenken, Brabham BT30, 1970, Formula Two)
Original configuration (1950–1954)
SurfaceAsphalt, cobblestones
Length5.100 km (3.169 miles)
Race lap record2:09.900 (France Maurice Trintignant, Ferrari 625, 1954, Formula One)

From its opening in 1950, Rouen-Les-Essarts was recognized as one of Europe's finest circuits, with modern pits, a wide track, and spectator grandstands. The street circuit (which ran on public roads) had a few medium straights, a cobbled hairpin turn (Nouveau Monde) at the southernmost tip, and a few blind corners through a wooded hillside The appeal was greatly enhanced by the climb from Nouveau Monde at 56 m (184 ft) to Gresil at 149 m (489 ft), with gradients over 9%.

Rouen hosted five Formula One French Grand Prix races, the last one in 1968 resulting in the tragic burning death of Jo Schlesser, at the fast downhill Six Frères curve. The circuit continued to host major Formula 2 events until 1978, after which it was used for various French Championships.

The circuit had a number of different configurations. From its construction in 1950 until 1954 it was 5.100 km (3.169 mi) in length. In 1955 major works increased the circuit's length to 6.542 km (4.065 mi), its most famous configuration. Construction of a new Autoroute across the circuit saw a new section of track built and the length of the circuit reduced to 5.543 km (3.444 mi). Finally, in 1974 a permanent chicane was built at Six Frères and this part of the circuit was renamed Des Roches.

The circuit was closed down in 1994 due to economic and safety reasons, since it is very hard to organize a race on public roads if modern safety standards are to be met. In 1999, following the circuit's closure all evidence of area's racing past was demolished, including grandstands, pits, Armco and track signs. The cobbled Nouveau Monde hairpin was also asphalted but it is still possible to drive around on the original circuit configuration.

The name "Les Essarts" comes from a village, which was included into the commune of Grand-Couronne in 1874.

Lap recordsEdit

The official race lap records at the Rouen-Les-Essarts are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event Circuit Map
Grand Prix Circuit: 5.543 km (1972–1994)
Formula Two 1:46.310[1] Ingo Hoffmann March 782 1978 Rouen F2 round  
Group 5 1:47.540[2] Gérard Larrousse Lola T280 1972 1000 km of Paris
Formula Three 1:50.470[3] Emmanuel Clérico Dallara F393 1993 Rouen French F3 round
Grand Prix Circuit: 6.542 km (1955–1971)
Formula Two 2:00.800[1] Tim Schenken Brabham BT30 1970 Rouen F2 round  
Formula One 2:11.400 Jack Brabham Brabham BT7 1964 French Grand Prix
Formula Three 2:18.300[4] Bev Bond Brabham BT28 1969 Rouen French F3 round
Formula Junior 2:25.400[5] Denny Hulme Brabham BT6 1963 Rouen French Formula Junior round
Sports car racing 2:28.500[6] Stirling Moss Maserati Tipo 60 1959 Rouen Grand Prix
Grand Prix Circuit: 5.100 km (1950–1954)
Formula One 2:09.900[1] Maurice Trintignant Ferrari 625 1954 Rouen Grand Prix  
Formula Two 2:12.800[7] Mike Hawthorn Ferrari Tipo 500 1953 Rouen Grand Prix
500cc 2:18.300 Reg Armstrong Gilera 500 Saturno "Piuma" 1953 French motorcycle Grand Prix
350cc 2:22.900 Ray Amm Norton Kneeler 1953 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Sidecar 2:34.100 Eric Oliver Norton Manx 1953 French motorcycle Grand Prix
Sports car racing 2:36.500[8] Louis Rosier Talbot T26GS 1950 Rouen Grand Prix


  1. ^ a b c "Rouen-les-Essarts - Motorsport Magazine". Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Paris 1000 Kilometres 1972". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  3. ^ "1993 Rouen Grand Prix". Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  4. ^ "1969 French Formula 3 Coupe de l´A.C. Normand". Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  5. ^ "XI Grand Prix de Rouen Formula Junior". Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  6. ^ "GP Rouen 1959". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  7. ^ "1953 Rouen Grand Prix". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  8. ^ "GP Rouen 1950". Retrieved 7 June 2022.

External linksEdit